It's Recess-time Somewhere

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November 17, 2005

$442 Million Alaskan Bridge to Nowhere Morphs Into $442 Million to Nowhere

As some of you probably already know, Alaska was awarded $422 Million in Federal funds to build two bridges, one especially to a very sparsely populated area. Ketchikan has 8,000 residents and Gravina Island has 50 residents. Also the bridge they want to build is almost as long as the Golden Gate bridge and taller than the Brooklyn Bridge.

The Gravina Bridge would replace a 7-minute ferry ride from
Ketchikan to Ketchikan Airport on Gravina Island. Project proponents
tell the public that the bridge is a transportation necessity, though
the ferry system adequately handles passenger traffic between the
islands, including traffic to and from the airport. Some herald the
project as the savior of Ketchikan because it will open up land on
Pennock Island to residential development, despite the fact that
Ketchikan's population has been shrinking.

This silliness has become a symbol of the wanton fiscal irresponsibility of the Republican-controlled White House and Congress. In fact the transportation bill in question won the Best in Show prize for most pork in a bill ever. 6271 pork projects -- very impressive.

So, in a misguided attempt to right this wrong and stop the other kids from making fun on them, Congressional Republicans have decided instead, to give local Alaskan officials a blank $422 million check to spend as they see fit. They can still build the bridge if they like, or perhaps they'll spend it on dog-pulled rickshaws.

But as the Carpetbagger points out, if this is what passes for fiscal responsibility, were are all in deep doo-doo.

This is what passes for Republican fiscal restraint in 2005. A $286 billion transportation bill will still cost $286 billion, but now local officials will have more say over how .001% of the bill is spent. It's quite an accomplishment.


  • At November 17, 2005, Blogger Gordon said…

    They can change the verbiage around all they want. We're still gettin' "porked".

  • At November 17, 2005, Anonymous Ellen said…

    The people on the island didn't even want the bridge! I'm not sure who was pushing for it. It was definitely stupid. (And still is.)


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